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Green leader says avoid more property taxes; cities need help from feds

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Green leader says avoid more property taxes; cities need help from feds

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party, says municipalities will need significant financial help moving forward – and increasing property taxes is not the answer.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Advocate, Schreiner talked about how the COVID-19 virus is influencing municipalities, long term care homes, public schools and universities, and small businesses as Ontario tries to re-open carefully and cautiously.

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Grocery sales down 40 per cent over long weekend compared to last year

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Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham says grocery sales were down 40 per cent over a typical long weekend in the city because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a wide-ranging media scrum Letham and CAO Ron Taylor shared their thoughts on the disappointing business trends from the recent Victoria Day weekend and what issues the city will be facing moving forward next month and even into next year.

On the grocery store numbers, Letham says that “unless residents use their local businesses they are going to lose them.”

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Mayor fears substantial tourism losses but says not the time to give up

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Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham fears “substantial losses” depending on how long the city’s tourism-related businesses remain closed because of the pandemic.

The mayor, talking with local reporters at a weekly press scrum, says he has concerns about tourism and the upcoming long weekend but that it’s not time to give up on the season yet.

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Kawartha Lakes relaxes some COVID-19 restrictions

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No charge residential clear bag drop at City Landfills

From farmers’ markets to the Victoria Rail Trail, there are a few restrictions being lifted by the city as it continues to monitor the rate of COVID-19 spread.

“This entire situation hasn’t been easy on anyone, but we did what needed to be done to put the health and safety of residents and employees first,” says Mayor Andy Letham in a media release.

“After working through some of the challenges, council and I are pleased to share that we can start to lift restrictions on some services and take advantage of the better weather and the outdoors. The pandemic is far from over, but these small freedoms will go a long way for people’s mental health.”

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City looking to landlords to help with homelessness

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City of Kawartha Lakes/Haliburton more than double homelessness housing goal

The municipality of Kawartha Lakes is looking to partner with landlords who own apartments in Kawartha Lakes and the County of Haliburton to help end homelessness during COVID-19.

During the pandemic, the most vulnerable are at an even higher risk, says a press release, and the City is looking to landlords to help house homeless community members. There is a high demand for bachelor or one bedroom units.

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City debuts electronic council meeting as it deals with pandemic response

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April 28 marked the first electronic council meeting in the history of the Kawartha Lakes – and it passed with few glitches.

After passing a new bylaw to make the meeting legal, the clerk, CAO, mayor and all eight councillors spent the next two hours discussing and deliberating how the city has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mayor to chair economic recovery task force as city charts a path forward

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Kawartha Lakes City Council unanimously approved an economic recovery task force that will support local business, building trades, tourism and agriculture.

To be chaired by Mayor Andy Letham, it is one of two special task forces to be in place by May 26 to help buffer the harsh economic realities facing local businesses as they prepare, eventually, to reopen after a long closure due to COVID-19.

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Letham speculates how Kawartha Lakes may re-open

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Kawartha Lakes mayor, Andy Letham, says the discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic is “no longer what we are shutting down, but instead how things can be opened responsibly.”

Businesses like drive-ins and golf courses could perhaps re-open soon, says the mayor, once the weather improves and the state of emergency has been lifted.

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CUPE had no say on city layoffs since ‘entire divisions’ affected: HR manager  

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Farm country, Canadian Shield…anything but “cottage country”

When Kawartha Lakes announced the layoff of 213 part-time, seasonal and temporary workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city did not consult with their union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), on who would be laid off.

According to Liana Patterson, manager of human resources, she says that’s because CUPE “did not have any input on the layoffs because entire divisions of workers were unable to work and as a result, the entire group was laid off.”

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City administering $1.8M social services relief fund from province

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To help provide relief for pressing challenges faced by many during the COVID-19 pandemic, the province has announced a new $200 million Social Services Relief Fund., according to a media release.

The municipality will receive $1.8 million to support the provision of emergency housing and shelter services and food security in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County. City of Kawartha Lakes is also the designated service manager for Human Services in Haliburton County.

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